Small business owners are always busy. Busy growing, busy keeping their customers happy, and busy looking for a small business loan that works for them!
It can be tricky for small businesses to find the right loan. Different banks and finance providers have different eligibility criteria. Some are stricter than others, and some offer better terms and perks than others too.
While you’re looking at your business finance options, it’s important to consider what the application will involve and how likely you are to be approved. The more doors open to you, the more choice you’ll have when it comes to how much you raise, and how the repayments will work.
- Eligibility criteria for small business loans
- Traditional lenders
- Alternative lenders
- Choosing the right lender for your business
Eligibility criteria for small business loans
With so many lenders and loans to choose from, eligibility criteria can vary a lot. How can you improve your chances of getting a ‘yes’?
Turnover and profit
This is a good guide for how much cash you can raise. Many loans will be for 25% of your average monthly turnover, but lenders like Capify can often lend up to 75%.
Bank statements and filed accounts
Lenders like to see all your up-to-date documents and statements from a separate business bank account.
Your business should look stable and consistent, showing how long you’ve been active and profitable. Capify likes to see at least 6 months’ trading history, while other lenders often ask for 1-2 years.
The lender will look for any late payments or CCJs connected to your business. If you’re a sole trader, they might look at your personal credit history too, including mortgage payments, credit cards, and even utilities and phone contracts.
Reason for borrowing
The type of finance you’re looking for, and what it’s for, can affect the borrowing decision. An asset finance loan has to be spent on buying an asset, but a general business loan can be used for any kind of business purchase.
Some types of finance depend on how you accept cash into your business. Capify’s Merchant Cash Advance is designed for businesses accepting card payments. Small businesses and sole traders can repay a small percentage of all customer card transactions until their finance is paid.
Number of transactions
How many card and cash transactions do you process every day, week, and month? Some lenders will want to know.
Security and personal guarantees
Some lenders want a bit of reassurance before they hand over some of their cash. They might want a guarantor, who’ll offer to make repayments if you can’t. Alternatively, they might ask for one of your assets as security, which could include commercial property, equipment, machinery, vehicles, or stock.
Lenders might want to know you’re up to date with your lease before you apply for finance. It’s one of the biggest regular payments your business will make, so gives a good idea of what you can afford.
Traditional lenders are often the high street banks we all recognise. They’ve been around forever, and they offer the kind of financial products you’d expect – credit cards, loans, and different types of accounts.
Banks will usually keep their eligibility criteria strict. They want to know you’ve been in business for a while and will often prefer a higher credit score during the application.
Alternative lenders are usually based online, instead of having physical branches. Personal and business customers can raise finance with them using their brand new technology platforms.
It’s often easier to pass the eligibility check too, because alternative lenders are less strict compared to traditional banks. They usually ask for a shorter trading history, and accept lower credit ratings.
Choosing the right lender for your business
All these factors help lenders understand you and your business, creating a full picture of what you can afford to borrow and repay. Lenders want to know you can comfortably make repayments and won’t struggle to clear the debt.
Lenders like to see you have healthy profits and turnover. They’re also very keen on complete, up-to-date records, a clean payment history, and a decent amount of trading history.
It’s understandable that they’d have eligibility criteria, but it can make some lenders seem a bit rigid and difficult to borrow from. Plus their list of wishes can be a bit worrying for small businesses that don’t have a spotless record. That doesn’t necessarily mean all your options are closed off though.
Lenders do want to lend to small businesses. Many alternative lenders in particular show more flexibility than banks do. If you want to find out what’s available to you, getting a quote or doing a quick online application is the best place to start.
To be eligible for a Capify Business Loan, you’ll need to:
● Run a UK-based business as a limited company
● Process more than £10,000 a month through your business bank account
● Have at least 12 months’ trading records
Our Small Business Loan is a great way to raise finance for your business. You could use the funds to carry out new growth plans. Many small business owners use the money to pay for equipment, renovate, or hire new staff. It’s up to you how you use the funds to help grow your business.
Capify’s Business Loan is repaid in small regular amounts, either daily or weekly. Payments are entirely automated so you don’t need to do anything yourself. It’s a flexible, reliable way to raise finance for your business.
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